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  1. Well, here we are, September and the numbers on the slides are looking good, the prospect of a vaccine and lots of holidaymakers and sightseeing foreigners are still short on the ground, the pubs are struggling and the restaurant business can't open, we have to wear a mask, on transport, in shops and supermarkets. And normality is returning. The schools are open, the students are going back to uni and more workers are going back to the office (sorry, BBC have gone very OTT, to omit news that would criticise certain people) just remember all the letters into the head office of the BBC, demanding that a bias towards the left of middle when talking about politics. I can't remember the last time this wasn't all over the news about the news. Some senior backbenchers only wanted to open the country back again. Still no stop of people coming into the country, even through the first wave.
    Because of the fear of furlough ending and some of the restrictions are still in place, thousands of workers didn't know when they were going to get paid, more thousands were let go, sacked, finished, fired and rehired, then put back on furlough. Many were jobless with no income. So the majority of those effected had the humiliation of begging for state aid, the food banks, the reliance of family, and debt in the future. There was millions who wouldn't know the future, how the future looked, how many would not have a job to go back to. And then there was the self-employed, it is estimated that there was 3million who couldn't get anything for being in lockdown.
    No one was safe, especially from capitalistic bad owners, who don't really care about anything except profit.
    There was still the mixed messaging, the cabinets reluctance to agree and of course, questions of how we count those effected and found to have the virus.
    Still, the track and trace being useless, people who were not sure what to do when found positive, then those who couldn't isolate because of the threat of losing their jobs. And more than anything, getting any financial help when isolating. The shielding, the at risk list, and of course the care homes, nothing had changed. But other than the odd few in hospital. The country was preparing for the future. The country was borrowing more money, after years of austerity and the destruction of the public sector, the austerity measures were designed to pay off the debt. It's alarming that after so long in austerity, we hadn't paid enough to lower the debt, in fact it increased. There was not enough investment in the infrastructure and growth of the economy was still recovering from the mortgage crisis in the banking world. it's frightening how badly we were prepared for anything. This year and everything that followed was ten years in the making and going to cost the middle and lower classes for years.

    With parents buying new school uniforms and books for students and the fees paid for those who are fortunate to go to private schools, these youth going back to digs or for the first time away. Life was getting back to some sort of arrangements to cope with covid, work place for covid, school bubbles, and so on, social distancing being the in word.
    October was for all sense and purposes, the new word was variant. What was going on was that the original virus was running out of steam and a new version, was discovered in the UK, they named it the Kent variant.
    This spread to most of the world especially North America, until later on in the year came the south African variant, then the Brazilian variant, were the government there, was convinced the president told everyone that it was a form of flu and didn't act upon the evidence of not going into lockdown. How the south African variant or the Brazilian, got to this country, because of open borders, not many checks, no isolation, no organisation and particularly for a highly infectious virus, no system in place to quarantine infectious visitors.
    So with that all happening, the country slowly walked into a covid nightmare, that nobody saw coming not even the experts.
    The statistics were there, a slow climb of infections and the new variant was spreading, the testing was escalating, knowing who was infected became a novel way of trying to stem the tide of patients who needed hospital treatment. Because this was why it became a reason, for the numbers of new cases. The new variants didn't stop the political bouncing ball of populism.
    There was no plans, except for knee-jerk reaction to what was happening. The new thinking was areas of high infections the higher the testing, trace and isolation. This response was simply papering over the need to do anything. the virus didn't care., all through this month, the economy and keeping the hospital with enough infrastructure to cope with the next wave.
    I was watching breakfast tv during this period and because of the restrictions on travel for the last six months and the holiday industry, airports and airline companies were really struggling, laying pilots and cabin crew off. A minister from the Greek government was being interviewed, he was saying that the Greek economy was based on tourism as was a lot of Europe's countries, and following that, he stated that the UK was reliant on the city for its wealth and influence. Apparently our economy is based on investment banking, and the business of stocks and shares, money, money, money. This did open my eyes and it became clear to me that if despite supposedly being democratic, we are totally reliant on the very rich, who has a decent lifestyle, and those unfortunate to be begging for decency, reliance on food banks and dodgy landlords, no chance of getting a mortgage, renting has in the last ten years has rocketed. The government pension just about covers your rent and local taxes are twisting the life out of social care. This new government was elected to 'level out' but every day hundreds of those who are struggling because of everything going on are joining the poverty line. The minimum wage is about £50 too low, brexit has exacerbated the situation. The number of EU citizens that because of the overall situation they found themselves, went home. How many times did the experts, biologists, virologists, senior professors from universities, and I will say that one particular lady from Scotland, predicted everything correctly. And in particular, into October due to the obvious surge in cases advised that we should lockdown two weeks before the country actually did. The lack of action because the prime minister was not convinced about another lockdown, did not, at all protect the economy, lives, livelihoods or the NHS. The approach of the flu season and still a couple of months from a vaccine. The majority of the world responded very quickly, we dithered. And delayed, and when it was totally inevitable that at the end of October, a sudden u turn, on a Friday, the country was locking down again.. it was too late and led to a longer-term lockdown that anyone could envisage.
    Everyone was asking for a circuit breaker of about a month tops, with everyone focused on the Christmas season, because the messages were coming thick and fast, it will be ok for Christmas and it will be great.
    As we moved through those months before Christmas, the virus took hold, infections soared, hospitals were getting fuller despite better equipment, understanding, pharmaceutical, testing, masks, PPE. When I say testing the track and chase hit the headlines as it emerged that it didn't work, bad enough the government had thrown millions of pounds into the private company, which had the health minister crooning about the best in the world etc. But to scrap it all again, and start over. And they called it the NHS test and trace system. It had nowt to do with the NHS or the local health officials.
    The day that lockdown commenced in October saw the highest rates in the north west particularly around greater Manchester, but became widespread across Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside into Yorkshire, then up to the north east and not long after Scotland was seeing infections growing in the big cities.
    Greater London was seeing mounting infections especially in the deprived areas and were Asian and other minority ethnic groups were living, the new variants targeted those who were elderly, or had other existing conditions such as heart, lungs, diabetes when pneumonia occurs.
    The death rates continually grew. All the volunteers who helped in the first wave were called upon again as the country was testing, testing and anxious about the winter ahead. The army was called in to help, all extra facilities were put on standby, however we did not have the trained doctors, nurses, ancillary staff and even the infrastructure to staff.
    Going into December, we were presented with news of a relaxation at Christmas for five days in which we could travel to see our relatives, go Christmas shopping, and have family around for Christmas dinner and all watch the Queen together. This was met with at first joy, then really? Of course being a Christian, the virus will stop infecting those who want to celebrate!!! Of course this was based on scientific evidence that the virus had plateaued, a and was expected to decline further, so we could enjoy Christmas!
    The breaking news despite the opening up messages from ministers was that earlier in the year, two women from the UK had found a formula for protection against the virus. This Oxford vaccine was heralded the game changer, the way out of lockdowns and saving lives. The government gave the task of organizing the roll out to, and it surprised most people, to the NHS! I'm not kidding! Really!
    But didn't a Turkish couple working for Pfizer, created the first jab?
    The previous ten years of austerity and declining investment, to give the impression that the best health service, was failing because it was public domain, the government has always wanted to bring privatization back into health. And how it is paid for. And the American health insurance companies were very, very, very interested and held talks with the government, during brexit as part of a trade deal and early in the pandemic. As the whole country was clapping for the NHS. With ministers on door steps joining in, the hypocrisy, of what was going on behind closed doors, is an absolute disgrace but hardly unexpected. The president was seen off by the democrats, and the trade talks have not been heard since. By the middle of the month the drop of infections had gone up not down and the death rate started going through the roof. The call to cancel Christmas was getting louder, the vaccine rollout had just started with NHS staff and care homes, the most vulnerable, and then on to those shielding. As the virus so far had targeted the elderly and vulnerable, and I must bring up those NHS staff who died on the front line, that because of how the country wasn't prepared for this or started learning the lessons from other countries and certainly some professors who had predicted everything that has happened. But they haven't, the news about Christmas and vaccines, was going ahead despite the numbers. And the government announced it was cutting the holiday to Christmas and boxing day. And changed the advice on the number of people who could meet with the windows open! We rarely get a hot day, we get plenty of cloud and damp. To describe our weather, it's cold, wet and windy! I know that a really thick layer of a lot of clothing would be required.
    Time never stops, nor does this virus, the holidays came and a new year was hurtling towards us. The impact of trying to enjoy Christmas was an unforgivable mistake. The number of deaths were shocking and once again it did occur to me if everything that we were advised to do. Was that it was designed to confuse the general public and everyone getting a vaccine. So that the top Tories could claim all sorts about how Churchillian the government is. And being a free market in a free society, where only if you had money, could you get the help you need. Just one more thought.
    If we get a new variant that delivers a load big enough to make the vaccine useless, how long could we do without a vaccine. If the country isn't aware of how this virus can mutate. And doesn't get the whole world vaccines, this could turn from a catastrophe into Armageddon.
    Since brexit the power grab, the lack of rights, no constitutional rights, the laws of the land manipulation to benefit the rich. And the country must not go back to normal. Why?
    Everyone was surprised when they started hearing that this virus would be with us for quite some time.
    Next blog.
    1. In late March as the virus took hold and the numbers of infections, hospital numbers, and deaths increased. There was no stopping it. Most of the working population was ordered to stay indoors and to stop meeting each other as bubbles came into fashion. West Ham?No travelling around the country even to see family or visit your nan in a care home. We were told that the care homes had an arm around and the staff were getting provisions to cope with elderly. Why was this said, the reason why was probably to stop any panic or hostile action or demonstrations, , why were we told such blatant lies? The care homes were the breeding ground for the majority of deaths at this time because of the decision to move patients back into the care homes. The government did little or nothing about PPE in the care homes because hospitals were desperate for it and the amount of PPE brought in from abroad was not fit for use. Why were workers usually on poverty wages told to work? Where was the PPE? We were told that it was a logistical problem. We didn't have any. Front line workers were being exposed to a deadly virus, many got it, had it and died from it. The government just wouldn't give out details, and the mixed messaging, I do believe that this was a deliberate attempt at not quite what we should be doing and the opinions of those at SAGE and the government.This first wave lasted over two months, and I suspect that there was need for opening up a little. But wait, the city never stopped, government and the civil service were at home working, the usual methods of having interviews and appointments, the buses kept running because workers needed to get to factories, shops and so on. Social distanc ing became the norm, but no masks as yet, unless you had to go the hospital or the surgery. Restrictions were enforced by police, fines were given out for breaking the law (eh?) Spot fines! But the lawbreakers kept on meeting at organised parties and even though the majority of people were staying indoors when not going out to the shop for essentials.Around this time the media were asking questions of ministers, but the answers didn't faze the quizzes. And around this time was the SAGE advisor, who resigned because of his affair with a woman from a different household. As persistent violations from people carried on. The woman politician in Scotland forced to quit eventually. The number of people who objected to the the lockdown grew. Mainly because of the government advisor, went on a journey up north, then another trip the following day, he was one of the architects of the government tactics to advise business and the general public how to lessen the pressure on the NHS. The prime minister said he had done nothing illegal, the ministers were behind him. And the explanation was so unbelievably transparent, that the media made this a front page item, tv news programs, were beginning to be obsessed with this person who was at the heart of government (and brexit) Why didn't the prime minister sack him for a clear violation of the law? Why was decisions and tactics decided by him? How can he make life changing decisions as part of the inner workings of the cabinet and not be elected? This has been happening for a long time and it is definitely not democratic. One of the reasons that the civil service is to preserve the establishment, also, the average I.Q. of an MP is not that great. If you have watched 'Yes Minister' you know what I mean. I am not going to mention the undemocratic practices to elect The Lord's.By now in lockdown, because of the panic that the hospitals could be overflowing with covid patients, the government decided to build or create hospitals in towns and cities called nightingale hospitals. Still no masks. We all received letters from the council then the government about shielding those that have vulnerable conditions, the elderly and those disabled. The communities came to the rescue by delivering much needed groceries and the food banks struggled to keep up with demand.The number of children in absolute poverty and not getting any food grew out of control, so much that feeding children became one of the hottest topics and derision of the government's handling of the pandemic. It took a young footballer to create a petition to change the decision by making the government u turn after a vote that school children would not be getting any meals in the holidays. So because of this the government decided to fund the council's planning to deal with children's meals. Many councils farmed it out to private companies and of course the kids were given a package of which was less nutritious food than cardboard. These private companies were following government guidelines. It was really cheap and nasty.The government decided shortly after that the token or voucher system was preferred by many parents. Again the footballer became a public hero. He has up to date brought the government to u turn three times. The total lack of empathy towards schools and children.Talking about schools, universities, colleges and other training facilities, all closed because it was decided that any such gatherings were many of the infections were happening.They never closed, the numbers were lower but most schools provided education to those whose parents were on the front line. The number of university students who had paid for the university courses and digs couldn't get their money back, after being stuck and grounded in their dorms without food and often in distress. The students courses were now totally remote. Zoom became a new word for watching remotely.This became the norm for all educational services. If you had the technology, WiFi, the internet and could afford this. A lot of children didn't have any tech to do this. Finally masks started appearing for the general public, the same style as hospital masks were. Not much use. Cloth became a fashion item, matching colours, matching patterns.Not only were the UK under lockdown but most of Europe as well, flights were cancelled because of covid restrictions on travel and especially holidays abroad, you couldn't even visit your family or go to funerals and wherever you were social distancing.The country came to a standstill! However that is the impression that was put out. It eventually leaked that certain people could travel anywhere. There was still a small minority of people travelling and the borders have never been closed. Among these were people trying to get home from all over the world. Others were business leaders and representatives from government doing trade deals. Others were still travelling through privately owned aircraft. How many times did we see faces on our screens that were seen at home, then because they could, be somehow in another country. In fact, business meetings were exempt from the law. Why? For some reason the prime minister would not be seen on television giving interviews, then GMB was boycotted by the government, because of the questions asked by the presenters. There was a feeling that the government were well out of their depth in trying to keep the numbers down. But this was just window dressing because there was an article on herd immunity being the real tactic and of course keeping the hospitals going by any means. I think I've mentioned food and drugs before, because of the size of the population, we have to import food from abroad, most of these, by truck using the channel and North Sea ferries. We cannot grow the necessary food, so the food chain has to be intact for the supermarkets, insulin is one of those necessary treatments that is not manufactured here. So a lockdown and stay at home wasn't going what it appeared. It was all too late. Reaction rather than pro action was gonna cost us an awful lot in lives, jobs and children's education. And this was the first wave.We opened up far too early, the Kent variant changed things and every variation has brought challenges to the scientific community, but with every variant the mixed messages, the tactics were the same, everything was designed to confuse, misdirected, keeping the food chain and the links between countries going, and of course power, the network of basic services, water, electricity, waste, steel, mining, oil, and of course the city of London financial services, banks, government and the civil service, NHS providers, food factories, fire service, ambulance, emergency workers, postal service, bin men, petrol station, the shops that could open, supermarkets. Buses, trains, the tube, trams, even coaches, dock workers, import and export services, airport and ferry service, the shipping, the pilots who flew cargo in. Truck drivers, port officials, television companies, live and news programs. Editors, reporters, cameramen, photographers, printers, newspapers, the media, every worker on the front line and all the rest that have continued to work because they cannot afford to miss work. This was not a lockdown because far too many people still had to keep the economy going. And because of this we have not had a total ban on people travelling to this country. I do believe that there was still more working than on furlough. Which is another unbelievable waste of money which of course was abused by industry and owners to abuse their workers, changing contracts, hire and fire, then hire again on zero.hours at the owners discretion. And of course those workers who had no contracts, were just dumped. This new variant, the south African, or the Brazilian along with the Kent variant was found all over the country, and particularly in regions where there was a large community of Asian, far east and Caribbean were found to be more susceptible to the virus, the numbers of fatalities to this group was unforeseen, not only was the elderly and vulnerable to be protected, shielded and prioritised for delivery of food parcels. But ridiculous situation of this group of workers on the front line, and have not got the protection they required. A lot of doctors closed surgeries, turned to phone diagnosis and the list of people on waiting lists were growing. So as the pandemic eased down and the slow change to newer variants suddenly appeared in certain areas, the Midlands particularly in Leicester, greater Manchester and some boroughs of London, little outbreaks of the various covid virus was causing some murmuring among the media and scientific community. The main message was that we have to get back to normality, the kids in school with quite a lot of restrictions which the council's and if private had to pay out for. People getting back to the office. (Isn't it surprising that workers are the same as office workers, in the BBC, itv, sky, and the perception of the majority of people who don't work on the workshop floor. Most workers don't work in offices! Indeed it is the millions of lower class especially that have suffered from lost jobs, furlough payments, 80% of minimum wage is below the breadline. Most rents are above the figure after everything is taken out. Food banks are getting queues and the necessity of having food banks and these people work, probably both of the partners are working and still they cannot afford to live and feed the children. A right to nutritional food as a basic right, has been rejected by some councils and government ministers. Since brexit, the rights of workers have been taken away, I know this from personal experience. I had my contract changed, so could not be able to take to court or tribunal. We as a people do not have any protection against owners who will abuse the situation. Trying to work, educate and look after their families, and there is quite a lot on medication because of this covid. Simply because we didn't prepare, and those who followed the herd immunity advice, and the most influential reason was not to have dead bodies stacked high or rooms of dead and dying, because the NHS could not cope, or get the equipment, staff, and lack of knowledge about treatment. How to stop the transmission in hospitals, the reason we needed hand sanitation and the reason masks became mandatory. The power grab or special powers, was just part of the sham, that the majority of people followed, but with some, it was still open to abuse by certain people, who thought they were above the law and continued to act and do as they pleased, lots of politicians and business leaders, a few who wanted to have their holidays and during this summer recess the obvious important lessons weren't learned.So the borders were opened those who wanted holidays flew out and we welcomed all and sundry from the rest of the world, including what became the worst hit areas, the state's, Brazil, Europe and Africa.We had the usual border crossings without testing. The whole country were made aware that the privately owned track and trace app, didn't do its function because it really could not organised response to the information given. So if someone was identified as having covid, they couldn't follow the people who needed to be aware of the fact that they could have covid and should be isolated to not spread the virus.I still can't get my head around why it was called the NHS track and trace, when it definitely had nothing to do with the NHS. It was lauded in parliament as the best in the world, but embarrassingly this was probably the best way of controlling how we dealt with spikes of infections. And it totally flopped. The mere fact that the amount of money given out to private or other donors of the party were able to garner massive amounts of money for these emergency contracts. It is synonymous with parliamentary practice that the top politicians look after those who have personally been generous. Why wasn't the contract given to the people who knew how important this was to succeed? The local health authorities, and come together with the NHS, who were more qualified to do this. September and everyone came back from holidays and went to work, school, uni, and those shielding were told you can exercise outside. We had beaten the virus and even though the restrictions were still in place, opening the schools and universities was the government reaction to calls about a lot of children missing lessons and money had been payed out for students. Masks were worn now everywhere. But before we start the second wave, one of the most important things the scientists were telling us was we must be aware of another wave, we must learn the lessons.There was a rumour that a couple of firms were close to finding a vaccine that would be coming. And there was trials going onto see it was safe and effective against variants.The Russians had already started trials and they were starting vaccinations within a month. China was quiet, however they claimed there vaccine will be the first. This was a global attempt to find a way of prevention. The state's had done nothing much about their first wave. The president was dismissive of this 'flu'. However the numbers grew, and the hospitals were full and under resourced. Bodies did pile up, they had freezer lorries parked next to hospitals. Still the senior political voices. were still sceptical. It was presidential election year. Sport would be back soon but no supporters, but you could climb on a plane and go abroad, ' If you isolated when you return.'The royal family was in a family feud. If you could find the truth, you have better understanding than me. And they continued to holiday, and travel. But so was the ministers, who had the option to go anywhere they wanted and surprising every one of them were boasting about it.The other part of the situation we found ourselves, was that life saving operations were cancelled, appointments were no longer available, operating theatres were transformed into wards for covid patients, the machines and technology were now being installed. The NHS were learning how to treat the infected and help them recover, there was still covid patients in hospital when the lifting of restrictions came about. But the number of deaths were totally insane. Nearly fifty thousand. This tragedy was compounded by the lack of preparedness, treating the elderly back into care homes because beds were needed and if they had covid, well, unlucky because they were not tested. Testing became normal, unbelievably, the testing was done by private companies and this didn't work at all, so the government changed tack by investing in testing, so just as September was coming and most of the country would be able to go back to normal. I hate this phrase and I'll sum it up next blog.The unfortunate reality was covid was hiding and traveling the globe, the summer was ending and just when we thought things couldn't get worse, they did. The government allowed too much too early, the virus would would transform into the Indian variant. More infectious. But before that so many will suffer the tactics of handling the pandemic.
  2. You might not agree with everything that I write, but keep reading because of the distinction between propaganda and truth from my view on the events from October 2019.
    I do not apologise for my questions, I do not believe that I'm breaking forum rules.
    And more important if something offends your outlook on life in this country.
    October 2019
    My colleague was informed that he would be making the trip to China as part of the group going for a month in early November. We had heard that something was happening in China but no details yet.
    October 2019
    My colleague was informed that the arrangements to travel has been suspended and would go in early December. The rumours from our people flying back in from China that an outbreak of a virus is now spreading.
    December 2019.
    The cancellation of the trip to China was confirmed and would not be another one till the authorities in China allowed us to. The reason was a virus that was sweeping Wuhan province. There was rumours abound how serious it had become, and again we had staff being flown home, saying that there was mask wearing and the government had imposed curfew and a news blackout.

    We have a permanent ambassador in Beijing, did anyone from the foreign office or the security services not know about this corona virus? Did they advise someone in the cabinet? Did anyone in senior government be proactive at this time and bring in an epidemiology expert and advise on the government should be prepared?
    Clearly, from January until lockdown every message from the government was the country is open for business and even though certain flights had by now had stopped, the majority of passenger flights still operated.
    By early January 2020, there was news from countries that surround China that there was cases of the virus being found in and were preparing to use restrictions on movement around. Of course there was curfews and the nightlife was completely stopped.
    Apparently the number of infections in Iran, was linked to flights in and out of Tehran, these flights were connections from all over China. And Europe, subsequently the virus started spreading west towards at first Italy then to the rest of mainland Europe.
    As far as I'm aware the first brit to die of covid related infections was in January.
    Again was the government unaware of this growing situation, we had pulled out of the European market. Badly.
    The election had sorted parliament. Why weren't we prepared for any outcome of this virus?
    The scientists by late January were screaming for action, but the government advised us that it was like the flu season and the prime minister knew that it would be over by the summer and the UK was open for business.
    Of course the government has to look after the economy and by ignoring the worst aspects of the virus was dismissed as scaremongering and leftist rhetoric. Why? Was it because certain members of the scientific community (SAGE) had decided and persuasive in advising government that herd immunity was the only way to protect the majority of the population. This meant that even if the reports were incorrect the government's priority was business and the financial services in the city. This was a political decision based not on fact and not of the reports that highlighted just how bad it could be. Surely by late February the need for decisiveness should have been thought through, the hospitals were getting ready for a flu like virus but still nothing major in preparation, except for those who had flown home in isolation, ferried to a hospital in the north (Arrowe Park) and given the nurses living block and securely kept away from the rest of us. If this was the normal treatment for someone who had picked up the virus?. Was the government using the media to deflect, the lack of preparedness? Why was the government so fixated on keeping Britain open.
    It was quite clear by late February and the reports especially from Italian reporters were being shown here that many things should have transpired by now, but going into March there was a anathema of reluctance to solve the rising number of cases, and hospital admissions, and of course the low number of deaths especially those who had breathing conditions and the elderly.
    Going into 2020, the NHS was probably at breaking point. The years of austerity and lack of funding, and of course the back door privatization of many services within the NHS. the majority of people who worked in the wards were not British. There was nurses and employees in hospitals and the health service that had come from all over the world and quite a few from Europe. And we were still had a shortage of staff. And brexit causing people to apply for workers visas. The lack of skills within our population is not only affecting the NHS, but the majority of companies who need these skilled workers. We have an army of school leavers every summer, how many are trained to be skilled? Again government cuts and austerity?
    The dogma of the Tories was crippling the hospitals, the best free health service in the world was being dismantled in favour of American health insurance companies. I can only ask why?

    In 2016 (?) The government and the scientific community set up a scenario for something akin to a bad viral infection, that enacts what it would be like if the virus hit hard. One of the scientists who was an organised. Told a tv breakfast show, that the results of this scenario had never been acted upon.
    This became even more relevant as we neared March. Italy's hospitals were overrun with elderly patients and most of Europe was preparing for the worst and still the government had yet decided to act upon the advice of many viralogists and other high ranking academic professionals that the government should act now.
    But the government blustered, and while this was happening, the government started getting the hospitals ready by sending all of the elderly patients back to the care homes.
    Meanwhile in the headlines we were being told to take precautions and wash our hands. Even though I have a vivid memory of Boris doing the rounds in a hospital shaking hands with everyone and extolling that he will keep shaking hands. There was the issue of sport and highlighting Anfield and Liverpool's European game versus a team in the Spanish league. The virus had taken hold and infection rates had soared but 5000 Spanish supporters had flown in. Then there was a race meeting attended by over 100,000 through the four days of the meeting. The government again delayed action, why? Could it be that the government was using propaganda to tell the country we was not in a situation which could be devastating to the population? the chief medical officer even came out and he predicted that no more than 20000, was an okay figure of mortality?
    I believe that this is bull's...., because the figures of death rates were higher than expected. The number of infections were still rising especially in the poorest areas and the ethnic minorities. But the news that the virus was attacking the most vulnerable and the elderly as well. The hospital numbers of elderly patients were growing for some reason and care homes were at the forefront.
    The hospitals were not prepared for this influx of elderly patients, the fact that we had no stores of PPE, and of course the lack of proper PPE for contagious viruses in hospital and care homes. The overriding figure of PPE made in the UK was only 1%. How come? It makes no sense or logic not to have stores of proper PPE, with the majority of it brought in by the truckload. The number of ICU wards that had the equipment and supplies for the number of patients going into hospital.
    All of a sudden in mid March, the government started realising that the NHS was in trouble and hospitals were filling up, the need for drastic measures was apparent, but still wouldn't announce a lockdown. There was so much to learn about the virus and its make up, and if possible a vaccine or a cure for it. The capital is overwhelmed by numbers of people needing treatment.
    The need for a test and trace service wasn't happening and the rumours were like in Italy were patients lives were being assessed in corridors and some were beyond treatment. Some elderly patients were just left to die!
    If this is true and it will come out. What does that say about our humanity in this country?
    Going into lockdown on the 23rd March, it was apparent to most that we had to go into lockdown.
    The hospitals couldn't cope and the death rate was surging. There was rumours abound about the supply and demand of certain items, that was given allegedly to Tory donors. The thing about the test and trace, was given to a private company, and billions of pounds was allowed to be paid, but it never really works.
    The back benches in parliament were not happy about lockdown, as the travel industry, the airlines and probably every company in the country was impacted by the lockdown and on top of brexit, the need to keep food coming into the country from abroad, because we need to, never mind medical and other essential services needed to continue. The supply chains couldn't break down. Why weren't we told this?
    Supermarkets were kept open, most of our high streets were closed. Pubs, restaurants, nightlife disappeared. And the roads were suddenly deserted. We had seen on the television that countries had already adopted face masks, Where it was stated in parliament that masks were unnecessary. Huh?
    All the way through March, the government were reluctant to publish figures of infection rates, hospital figures and of course the number of people dying from covid. Was hiding the information about what was happening in a good portion of the country, a tactic to stop the panic and the population going daft and shopping for everything that would cause a shortage? You have to ask yourself, if the government wanted to adopt herd immunity why were we in lockdown? Was it to protect the NHS? Or the fact that because of moving elderly patients with covid back into care homes, was causing the death rates to grow quickly? Or didn't the delay into lockdown expedite the infection rates? Or because the government didn't want on our screens the sight of patients on trolleys dying because of no beds or breathing equipment?
    Why was the test and trace given to the private sector?
    We already had the local councils health advisors, that dealt with health issues in their area and had experienced experts, on how to use this type of emergency situation. The television program about the Salisbury poisoning was on around that time and the woman who was in charge of organising everything to stop the spread of the novochock poison was outstanding. Again, why wasn't this local knowledgeable service used?
    Was it a panic decision? Was it a political decision? The decision regardless was a disaster and a total waste of money.
    Then was the government decision to make gatherings illegal, to stop the freedom of movement, to bring in emergency powers that were simply non democratic. The government voted itself power that should not have been given, and it has misused and misled the country on many subjects. And it was no surprise when the prime minister got covid. He missed cobra meetings (6) and was on holiday whilst everyone else was told to stay at home. Work from home and everything closed down. Or did it?
    We know hospital staff were working, the food distribution never stopped, farms were still producing, the harvest was just about done despite the call for pickers from those who had been furloughs and of course the now unemployed or the self employed. The call wasn't successful.
    Furlough was brought in to help companies who's employees were laid off. But there was some who couldn't claim anything. Why pick on these people, discrimination or what?
    When the system actually needed to stop low pay, the government had a mass of low paid getting their wages cut. The food banks were busy, the voluntary food parcels given out. The bad companies were claiming payments that never went to the furloughed. How was this allowed?

    This is the end of part one.

    Thanks for reading.
  3. It has been quite a while since my last vivid dreams blog.
    I have again been researching sleep patterns and of course REM.
    Dreams are supposed to be very essential for brain function and a healthy mind, so when I dream and can't remember them, that is what these experts (ha) say. So what if you remember the vivid lucid dreaming and are particularly bothered about the dreams.
    This dream was different in so many ways, hence the research. However what you read about is just opinions and really you can't get to the truth. I suppose I got the gist of it.
    Dream first.
    I was working by myself in a place I recognised as a test area for new models.
    This was part of my roles and responsibilities, making sure that the parts to be fitted have been tested and the tooling needed for the operation, the station layout and to be as standard practice in the time allowed.
    I worked with engineers and designers, as well as the suppliers of said parts. I was working as a lean manufacturing process team leader.
    This place was known as pilot build and it was very secret, I don't know why, maybe industrial espionage but there wasn't much that we hadn't seen before, was there?
    Well as it happens, and I will have to kill you if you repeat any of the following.
    I want a pinkie swear please!

    The dream focused on a vehicle that was hoisted on to a cradle, so if you were working on the chassis, you could comfortably work underneath. What this chassis was for, special engineers from design were working on the chassis to fit batteries to the area that could hold them, they were mostly ingot size, and fastened by clamps.
    With an electric car, quite a bit of space is gained from a petrol or diesel engines.
    I was at first just watching and I couldn't help myself, I had to touch the batteries and see how they charged up. How much wiring between batteries, could I find more room to fit more batteries. I decided to retro fit a battery, so I walked up and touched it and it was in my hands. I started to go back to my bench and someone shouted to stop me.
    I was sitting at my desk and I couldn't work it out, so I lay down and started having a dream about making the batteries bigger with curves to go around the pressed body. Plenty of curves and bends on a chassis. I started measuring and working on the theory that bigger is better.
    Of course that is not miniturisation, and I would have stopped this dream except that my desire for working things out would never be finished.
    I went to bed to sleep on it.
    Hang on!
    How can I go to bed when I'm involved in another dream? I'm already asleep and dreaming!
    I see myself in an office and I need to see how I'm doing but the person opposite was blabbering on about my interest and I got the message to stop working. So I asked him, how can you launch a new model when no one has figured out the weight ratio to be as light and energy efficient, but with the batteries we are now using, it is far too heavy., and the charge is insufficient for a long trip. I turned around and saw myself measuring and noting down, I can see myself, how?
    Just as I was watching, I saw another me approach the other, he was carrying a piece of wood which had been shaped as a battery to fit a certain area around the boot, this was alongside a bigger battery that satin the spare wheel compartment. . There had to be a way of making batteries small enough and have enough charge to have long trips. Especially on motorway network.. I walked out of the office, heading towards my two other selves and I couldn't get near the chassis it was moving with the other vehicles, and the sense of desperation, with anxiety that I hadn't finished, I tried to grab hold and ended up on the floor of my bedroom, face down with my bottom in the air.
    This dream was about a week ago, I had just dismissed the dream, when I came from the shop on Monday, and there on the television was my factory which I had retired from over fourteen years ago. They were announcing that the new model which would save the factory from closure, which was expected because of brexit, greener engines, and the factory was taken over by a company based in France. The vehicle announced was an electric van.
    This was not the design I dreamt of.
    Why did I have this dream before the announcement?
    Why do I remember the dream, it is so vivid and colourful? The chassis was sprayed in a light green undercoat.
    Why was I having a dream about another dream in another dream?

    I have never had a dream about dreaming before, have you?

    On another twist, I watched a video on YouTube about past lives. And one of the things that you look for are vivid lucid dreaming. Which can be repetitive.
    Surely, one life is enough to manage without having another from the past sticking its nose in.
  4. We, I have been unemployed for a year now.
    Wasn't my idea.
    I never thought that I would finish working at least for now.
    So, in that year, what I've gone through was not a good one, why?
    I have had medical issues which has seen me staying in hospital.
    I have had family health issues, including losing twins during pregnancy, but grandchild no. 8 is hopefully in a couple of months time. All my lot have been working through the pandemic as frontline workers.
    Myself, I have struggled with severe anxiety and depression. I have had counselling and that has helped me so much, I have learned so much from him about how I should continue to be positive.
    My GP has been brilliant, and caring, first because she took the brunt of my situation and how it had affected my me. Second because I needed help and even in these times I got the appointments. I am seeing my neurologist next week because of the new habits I've started to do, which I have never done before at all, one of the doctors in the hospital said I could have restless leg syndrome.
    I have had a full medical over the Easter weekend and two scans and numerous examinations from various doctors, it seems that there is a very healthy old man sitting here writing this.
    If only my brain function was better and I had something other than being bored and frustrated. I have not found anything that will stimulate my brain. My work, my life, was my dream job. The people in charge did not care enough and treated those who I worked with disdain and indifference.
    I have also lost interest in a lot of other things, such as reading and listening to music. There is only my wife and my family, that is now my occupation, I have become a full time carer, I have become a housewife, I have become a shopper, cook, washing, washing up, cleaner, and gardener! I have never been trained in any of these jobs. It doesn't make it any easier with covid and the disbelief of how this country is governed. Never mind the wife especially when she gets confused.
    I haven't replaced football in my life, it's there and it ain't going away, I will still support the team and have many acquaintances with fans and a few staff, I will hopefully take a huge step by going to a league game.
    Remember, baby steps!
    Even after twelve months, I am definitely getting better, I am now living in the present and looking forward to the future. I am now officially retired and got some spring cleaning to do.
    Thanks for reading.
  5. Today, which I cannot believe, is an anniversary, which still gives me nightmares.

    And I can remember so much about it.
    I found out about a month before that well paid jobs were available in the local factory.
    Little did I know that 35 years later, that I left the job with a half decent pension, this was 47 years ago today.

    I look back on that day, as one of the longest days of my life.
    I had to be at the reception room in the office block by 8a.m.
    Which I managed. The bloke who took that introduction into the working ethic of the company and more importantly at that time the union.
    I volunteered to go on a certain shift, so that I had a lift in from a neighbour.
    Those that did, like me, were sent home with instructions to report back to the office block at the shift start time at 10p.m.
    I got home and tried to get a few hours sleep, but I was too excited.
    My mother gave me enough food in my box, to sink Bismarck.
    And in the dark, late in the evening, quiet and tired, I arrived.
    We reported in and were given instruction on safety and what to wear and procedures to work in this factory.
    We went then, across the nearest block where there was certain production and stores.
    We crossed the road that ran through the factory for lorries, then through another block until we again crossed the road and went through a machine shop that housed huge machines that pressed steel into parts, the noise was deafening, we walked for another 300 yards until we came to the section where I was going to be working.
    I was introduced to the foreman and the leading hand and the shop steward!!!
    I was not the only newbie on this section, so we were shown around were there was about forty men, (no women, they couldn't do this job, could they?) The section had to work together and ensure quality so that the production didn't stop. This was way before they brought in Kaizan, which is Japanese style teamwork.
    I was given a job with another man, and shown on the job how to do this work the best way and easiest to keep the quality and quantity. However, at any time then the union could call the workforce out for little or no reason.
    Anywho, the night dragged on and I could safely say that it was a long night and made up with how I handled the work. Then I was given a clock card to clock off, forty men queuing up to clock off!
    I fell asleep in the car.
    Got in and changed and slept for ten hours.
    That was my first day of so many.
    I travelled Europe thanks to the job, I rolled out new products being on the pilot in different cities around Europe. I have seen one of the biggest factories in Europe with a city built around it.
    I have taught team leadership and lean manufacturing process. I have supervised a production line being in charge of thirty two men. I have had some really good times. The work was hard but rewarding most of the time.
    I had the opportunity to retire early, so I did, because even though I had gained respect, promotion and was in line to go to Poland, I took the money, the work was a young man's game.
    But at the time, this was when I had already had a few health issues, that was taking its toll on my body.
    If I only knew then, what I know now!

    Happy anniversary, the nightmare is of my really struggling to keep up with the work rate and failing. Because I'm useless! (Ha!)

    Have a wonderful Christmas.
    Keep safe
  6. I have had to witness the local A&E three times in the past week.
    The first was one of my family having rhinovirus, the second was a footballer who had a torn ligament, the third was myself, receiving far too many volts from an electrical power point!
    What a hat-trick!
    The care was fantastic, the nurse, junior doctors, the staff, brilliant!
    But the waiting times were dreadful!
    In every attendance, the time spent in the department was well over five to six hours, to see a doctor, the department just could not cope with the influx of patients. Every one were in need of treatment, there wasn't no one who didn't have to be there.
    Unfortunately, this is becoming a usual occurrences, every day, the department is stretched, there is seldom any beds, for those that requires being hospitalized.
    Another local hospital, with a brand new emergency department, has had to call a black warning and turn away patients. This is a warning for the rest of the winter.

    I could go on about politics, I could write all night about what is happening to our country.

    I cannot imagine why anyone would vote for another five years of this government!

    By the way all three patients are okay and back to their usual selves!!!
  7. If you have read my blog pages, you would already know that I am a huge footie fan, that has a job with my club, I am fortunate to work for my club and get all the benefits of being close enough to the action.
    Last weekend we unbelievably went back to wemberley for the third season running, to play in the league two play offs final v Newport county. I still cannot believe how well my club has done, just getting anywhere close to finishing the league anywhere near the playoffs. Actually being at Wembley is a bonus. Winning is the icing on the cake!
    We travelled down on the day before the final and we had booked the same hotel and being not superstitious, we ate at the same restaurant! Same breakfast, same supermarket for the stuff needed for the dressing room. We travelled the same route to Wembley.
    But fate had stepped in to upset our plans!
    As we left the supermarket, I started smelling burning and seeing a little smoke coming into the cab of our van. Also we lost the blowers, the indicators and other electrical powered systems.
    We immediately pulled over and opened the doors and windows. As the smoke cleared, I got the bonnet open and assessing the engine, oil, water and checking the important part of the engine and then we checked the fuses and found, the one from the electrical system has melted and another two was very hot causing the smoke and electrical faults. I pulled the fuses, checked everything else and found that the engine was running okay.
    I was beside myself, we should have been at the stadium by then and I was worried sick that another break down was going to take too long, and I wouldn't get to the stadium early enough, my anxiety levels went through the roof. I was using a few choice words. I was in a near panic! The most important game of the season, and this bloody van was trying to ruin the day again!
    Nor was this the first time our transport had failed us, in the past few weeks, the gear linkage cable failed going to a London club, the power steering went on a trip to south Wales, the turbo hose leaking, and a blow out on the M6, on the way back from Nottinghamshire!
    No wonder I was swearing, in the end after discussing the situation with my colleagues, we decided to chance getting to the stadium and then phoning the AA, the breakdown organisation, not the alcoholic one! Though both would have helped at that moment!
    We arrived nearly forty minutes later than we should, but the staff on duty were very helpful and agreed to help with our predicament, we got signed in and handed our accreditation. We got escorted to the changing room area near the tunnel, and off loaded. As soon as this was done, my colleague phoned the AA and myself and other colleague looked after the dressing room.
    In the dressing room everything was done and well organised for the arrival of the players. I was just so relieved when we could start enjoying the experience of the day.
    The mechanic arrived about an hour after us, and gained access to our van, thanks to the Wembley staff and he set about to at least get the van running for the return trip up north.
    All thoughts of the van took a back seat, as the players arrived and as the kick off approached because this is the important time as the players get ready and go out for warm up. Every time I have stepped out onto the Wembley turf, it is a thrill that I savour, in my wildest dreams, I never thought that I would be on the famous Wembley turf! It was warm out there, and the weather could have a bearing, if it went to extra time.
    It did, the amount of water, we used, was trotting up and I had to ask for more and find ways to keep towels cold.
    Everything possible was done to help the players cope with the heat.
    I will say now, that both teams did not want penalties, and the longer the game went on, it was becoming more than likely! They already were a man down due to a red card. But we couldn't really create anything and were getting frustrated, we didn't take advantage of the extra man, they were seeing the extra time out very well indeed! Our bench was biting their fingertips. Until the very last seconds of the extra time, in the 119th minute, a good move down our right allowed our right wing back to put in a cross to our strikers head and he placed the ball into the opposite corner of the goal as the goalkeeper was trying to get across.
    The bench erupted, I tried to get to the players but got blocked of by other staff, we had scored, Oh, wow! Jumping up and down, the whole one side of the stadium were dancing and singing, it was so loud, it is an incredible feeling and experience being there in front of all our support, oh yeah, my ears are still ringing!
    We had won and all the players and staff were congratulating each other and it is unbelievable celebrating at the home of footie and the partying never stopped for another thirty six hours!
    At this point, I would like to mention our opponents, who were incredible, not only did they never stop competing, they were very honourable in defeat. Despite the result, they were very friendly and congratulated us warmly.
    Their fans were brilliant and were as loud as ours. 25,000 + for two relatively small clubs was brilliant.
    We celebrated in the changing room, then in the big lounge above, I was cleaning up as usual., then the players and staff celebrated on the coach home. (Dont tell the rozzers!)
    After four hours, t h e mechanic announced that the van was okay to drive home, this was as the game went on.
    So we packed the van and eventually around eight o'clock, we set off home, thanking everyone in sight for such a great day. The drive home was without incident, thankfully because the mechanic had warned us that he to rig up the electrical system, because to be fit for future excursions, the van needed a completely new main electrical wiring loom.
    We arrived at our ground just after midnight, the party was still going on in one of the lounges, whilst the fans had gained access to the car park outside and were still singing.
    The party carried on into the morning, I wisely took myself home.
    The whole staff and players returned the following afternoon to give the fans a chance to greet the players and manager on the pitch and mingle with supporters in the fans zone tent.
    We had a civic reception the following afternoon.
    Phew! I'm tired!
    What a weekend!
    What a result!

    I'm booking the hotel for the end of next season!
    I'm getting a new van, I hope I can persuade my bosses to get me one!

    League One and new grounds and stadia to visit!

    I did say, last time, we are back, watch out!

    League One, look out, the superwhites are back!
  8. The genre of what if novels have always appealed to the amateur historian in me!
    My knowledge of the American civil war and all the the theories that abound from this dreadful war has been overdone especially in the states.
    Have you ever considered a different outcome to certain events in your own life?
    For example, if you decided to go somewhere and then changed your mind. Say you went, and because you did you altered your future history. This could have been a life changing experience!
    But, as things turn out, you wouldn't know anyway!
    You have regrets, just as everyone else, I wish I had done things differently and of course, once done, you can't change history.

    But it's the world changing decisions made by our leaders, that have always interested me, and there is so many to choose from. I once wrote in one of my blogs that if my relative who fought at Waterloo had died in the battle instead of surviving and the allied forces was destroyed by Napoleon's Grand Armee instead.
    The change in European history would have evolved quite differently. France would have become I would have to become an even bigger power bloc and stayed a republic. It did again, but you see what I mean!
    But English power and political policy would have changed, The Duke of Wellington would not have become such a powerful figure in history and subsequent governments would not have been as enthusiastic for a worldwide empire. A lot would have changed up to and beyond Queen Victoria's reign.
    It the same with the twentieth century history and warfare.
    A lot of Hitler's rise and downfall has been overdone in this genre of fictional story telling.
    But it goes back to when he was a corporal in the trenches, or even before that and his early life that moulded his life. His decisions as a dictator caused so much destruction and of course everything that happened because of those decisions. It is fascinating that these decisions by one man alone sealed historic events since.

    But there were other decisions made at this time, that also had an influence on history, the timing of America joining the allied forces for example, because of Pearl Harbour. Interesting if the Japanese had decided to secure the eastern theatre of war instead of attacking America! However, there is a consensus of thought that they had a great chance to take the U.S. Navy out of the war, and would have had free reign over south east Asia.
    D.day is another of those decisions, that has intrigued me because, it was always thought that Stalin demanded that the allies opened another front, to take forces away from Russia. A book theorized, it had nothing to do with Stalin, but the power behind the allied governments wanting to get to Germany before the Russians did. And stop Stalin's push for European country and of course the later named Eastern bloc. If the forces used on D Day were sent to push the war through Italy instead, the Russians would not have stopped until they reached the North sea! How that would have changed Europe after the war, or even the cold war would have lead to much worse!
    Why did the Americans and allies fight communism in first Korea, then in Vietnam? When it prevented the spread of communism, but never stopped it. The bay of pigs, is another decision time between the super powers!
    It was a close call!
    And finally, brexit! Whoever was the power brokers behind the Tories decision to have a referendum. What a really bad decision that was!

    Or was it?

    What if in the unlikely event of it being the best decision ever.

    There is always a what if, and the Labour party had won that election?
  9. Besides not having the time or the inclination to continue writing my blog, it has been now seven months since my last one and I will tell you that my life has changed so much since this time last year, and really it is not about my health or my dietary regime.
    My job is my dream job!
    I work in football! Don't get me wrong, it is hard work, not for those who are not willing to put themselves out, to get everything sorted, to get what is needed, where it is needed to be. At the right time. At the right place.
    Football is a team sport, and besides the playing squad, there is those like me, who do all the work behind the team, and the way it is done is so the players have nothing but football on their minds and as little distraction as possible.
    At my age, I should be considering retirement (again) but because the work is demanding, my health is not an issue! (As long as I behave myself with food of course!) So retirement is a long, long away.
    My health as I've said is good, I have now had a step watch as a chrimbo present and an app that records, steps, kilometres, records blood glucose levels, weight, BP, sleep and temperature. I only use the weight and blood glucose readings.
    My average for January for steps per day, is 17000, which is according to the app, approximately 24
    kilometres!! Calories burned, 2600! Which again according to the app is four hours constant activity time!
    As is my necessary control, my blood glucose levels (fasting!) Is within normal range, averaging at 4.9!
    Weight, I have now been around twelve stone for over three years, hovering just above and below. So I've had to convert my weight to kilograms, and my average for the last month is 81.2 kilos! Which I'm quite happy with!

    The father in law is defying all odds and is still being the pain he has always been. I don't worry too much!
    The wife's diabetes is slightly better thanks to a change in meds, but her overall health is suffering because there is more happening in her spine! (I'm afraid of this!) I do worry!
    The rest of the family don't discuss health problems because me and the wife have enough for us to be worrying too much, but that doesn't stop it, does it? I do worry!
    As you read this, you would think that my anxiety over certain things are at the forefront of my brain, that couldn't be further from the truth, if you have had the chronic symptoms of anxiety, which I had during my hypo hell, being a little bit worried about your family is a natural thing, anxiety as I had it, is at least a hundred times worse! You are scared to make any sort of decision, and I would not be able to cope with my job or life as it is, without making hard decisions all the time. In fact, my job has helped so much in this regard.
    I had a busy, quiet, Christmas, with my list of presents filled. I actually had Christmas day off, which is unusual, because of the fixtures over, before and after chrimbo. We played six times in the three weeks over Christmas and New Year period, and if you add the FA cup replays, it was ten games in five weeks. It is not only match days but the preparations for matches and also training.
    I can't believe that it is February already, the season has gone so fast, and my boss, has already asked me to consider my summer vacation and remaining holidays days! It is now only thirteen weeks left unless we make the playoffs!
    I'm 64 soon! And I really feel as if I'm in my thirties! Occasionally, age does catch up and I get the aches and pains from my bones and muscles, mainly in the evening when I'm physically tired and need my beauty sleep! I'm never mentally tired or lethargic, I have energy levels you would not believe, my brain is working full steam ahead, planning my working life, what chores, what shopping, and of course paying the bills!
    What a difference from 2012/13 and my hypo hell before diagnosis!
    Thank you, people on this here forum, thank you my endocrinologist! Thank you whoever arranged for me to get my job!
    I still don't believe my life has been anything but hard and I do appreciate the little things that have helped my life become something that has been a really great achievement from my background and the struggles my life has exposed me to and the experience I have had.
    There is a saying around here that I've heard so many times especially in the people who struggle every day to make ends meet!
    Life's ****, then you die!

    In my life, the good fortune of making my living standards improve, through all the ups and downs, has been remarkable, but I fear, that all my endeavours has been for nought because of politics and this country's obsession for being British!

    Well, that is it for now!
    Best wishes
  10. Well, what a couple of weeks that was!
    If you have read my blog, you know that my life has not been all sunshine and roses. Life has been hard and will continue to be because of how my big family has a history of being taken away by circumstances fate dictates.
    But I have crawled out of child poverty, to have a grammar school education, an education in how being poor in an elitist system is not going to further your prospects. To be so good at certain sports doesn't guarantee you a place, to have street smarts before leaving school and using my personal skills to try and get an apprenticeship. Failing because of my background.
    My determination to support my family, regardless of job opportunities I have never had a day claiming benefits, never, allowing my kids to fail because of who they are. And their background. Indeed my job now is somewhat so rewarding, my dream job. Sometimes life can be a pleasure.
    Enough of me, I have every reason to be proud of my immediate family, though certain older ones are totally irresponsible for their behaviour. I digress!

    During a period that has really astonished me, three out of four, those in school have exceeded expectations from their school reports. The others , two hold good jobs as apprentices, the other two are not at school.
    Indeed, one of my granddaughters had her first holy communion today, she is definitely a chip off the old block.

    So why has my kids and grandkids made so proud and the reason for my joy. Though it was by pure accident it happened.
    One of my son's saved a fifteen year old boys life this week.
    The boy, wanted to commit suicide by jumping onto a motorway, this happened to a young girl at the same place last week. So, as my son was driving by on his way into work, he spotted the lad behaving suspiciously, where these flowers had been placed to commemorate a young lady's demise last week. He stopped and asked if he was okay, the lad told him in no certain manner to go away, my son again enquired to his well being, the lad started walking away, so my son watched him, the boy walked to the end of the bridge and kept looking back.
    My son then decided to go around the motorway roundabout and make sure that the boy was away from danger.
    As he returned to the spot where he spoke to him earlier, the boy had returned. My son phoned the police, he pulled up again and could see that the boy was distressed and crying, my son spoke to him and again swore at!
    The boy started to climb the bridge railing, my son immediately left his vehicle by this time the boy was just about to jump, and without thought of safety grabbed the boy and pulled him back over the railings, my son held the boy down to prevent the boy doing it again. Another car pulled up and phoned the police, then another car stopped and helped my son prevent any more problems.
    The police arrived, placing the boy inside, and drove away.
    My son was sent home from work because he was in a bit of a state.
    The following day, there was a sign, on that same spot, that said, Thank you for saving our son!
    My son has received many messages from the people who witnessed this, the chief constable also phoned him and praised his actions.
    One of my other sons, helped an old woman with her falling and saving her embarrassment till an ambulance arrived.
    My daughter, her job is in social care for children, she has been rewarded because of her work in helping unfortunate children in foster care.

    And to finish off, I'm not name dropping but my nephew was part of the guard of honour at the recent royal wedding. He is serving with the Blues and Royals, He was pictured in his finery on the steps outside alongside the happy couple.

    And finally, as it is now a month since Wembley! And my team winning and my part in it, what a month it's been!

    On a sad note, my brothers are not here to celebrate their birthdays during this time, my eldest would have 74 on June 6th (D Day!) And my next eldest would have been 66, today!

    I have my health. And I'm thankful for that but not as much as my kids and grandkids are dear to me!

    Thank you for reading.
  11. Well that is it!
    I have had a letter confirming that my specialist endocrinologist does not wish to see me in an appointment unless it is an emergency.
    This has been coming for a while now.
    It is because, I have complete control of my condition and in his words,
    Mr ......... attended clinic today, we have actually agreed he does not need to attend my clinic anymore as he is now on a stable dose of Sitagliptin for his Reactive Hypoglycaemia and he is doing very well on his dietary management of this condition.
    I'm a bit sad but glad, I enjoyed his clinic visits, his knowledge and experience, with his personality, had become a worthwhile experience for me.
    He was never resolute in his beliefs regarding treatment especially when it came to complex carbs, my extensive food diary, actually showed the reason why and he admitted that, I was a bit weird to actually not need complex carbs, indeed my blood panel results from last October were so good he questioned my resolve and how I had achieved the good results.
    My general health is so good, he couldn't argue or disagree, the diet for me, was actually working.

    It's been a long time coming to be as healthy as I am.
    I have my life back and I'm not going back to what was actually making me ill. And would probably have me not being here!
    I have my specialist endocrinologist to thank for that, I will be forever in his debt!
    But I have this forum and its knowledgeable people to thank for eating as I do now!
    And of course, my resolve to be a pain for all my family and friends, to be around for a lot longer than seemed possible a decade ago!

    Best wishes!
  12. It has now been two weeks since that eventful day or weekend really!
    Last year, we went and lost there, but we were back, with a different approach and attitude to getting back to were we believe we belong, according to all the talk on the radio, Twitter and Facebook etc. Even the message was continually pressed into all our conversations and meetings.
    This one had to be perfect, there was no mention of celebrating the semi final win and all staff spent every day at the training ground to get the lads ready for the battle ahead.
    Everyone knew their roles and responsibilities, and getting everything prepared and being utterly professional about the job in hand. We were not going to lose gracefully or be awed by our opponents, the stadium, it wasn't going to happen again!
    My role?
    Well I'm on the staff, doing my dream job for my local football club, that is, I prepare the dressing room and see to all the needs and wants of the manager, coaches, physios, players and from outside the dressing room. On such occasions, the media and Wembley staff, as well as officials, mascots, reporters, and senior staff from our club. I act like a go between, the go to person on a match day.
    There is a member of the Wembley staff, like a guard to both dressing rooms, and he is a great help.
    I prepare and pack every piece of equipment and kit, that is needed, and a lot that is not, but always with travelling, always be prepared for every eventuality. For a trip to Wembley, the amount of stuff we have is a lot.
    We use a transit van and this season it has clocked up a lot of mileage especially to the sarf!
    Thursday morning meeting over, we know what to load, who is in squad and equipment necessary, we have a list of lists, including one that has which equipment is needed on the players coach and and what is going in the van. The van is carefully packed due to how and what is needed first and last, we take extra for the hot weather we have been told to expect, but we still pack the large benchcoats, just in case!
    Last year we never had enough sun cream, we didn't miss that this time!
    Friday morning.
    The players coach is packed and enough water for an army, it was really nice and warm, I wasn't looking forward to the motorway madness, which is always discouraging on a Friday afternoon.
    We always leave after the coach departs, because there is always one player who has left his boots or the staff have forgotten something from the training ground. It happens all the time!
    Of course, this time was no exception.
    We started late afternoon, missing the m6, missing the roadworks and joining the motorway past Stoke joining at Stafford, before the m6 toll road!
    We have a break at the services on the toll road.
    We continue down the m42, m40 down to Wembley, we actually take five and half hours to get to our hotel, because we travel all over, and my dietary needs, we always stop at a premier inn. Never had a bad breakfast yet!
    Our evening meal sorted in a beefeater restaurant and early to bed. We have to be on the ball, so to speak, tomorrow!
    Breakfast done, bloody hell, that would last all day, I forgot about eating till about eight o'clock that night, there was more important things to consider.
    We decided to get to the Wembley Park early, and have a look around the outside and around the retail park, already supporters were arriving, and being recognised, photos were taken on our phones, and a desire to get inside and get it right before the players coach arrived.
    We would arrive and we get our passes, be scanned electronically and by a dog handler. We await our turn to enter and our escort around the underground part of the magnificent stadium. There is so much underneath, that you just can't grasp the enormity of it all. The amount of staff is huge.
    We approach the west gate, already waiting was our fitness coach, he would help set up the important table full of supplements, water, pre match gels, and stupid minor stuff, like, Vick, Sun cream, tape, physio bands, tie ups, and all the stretching equipment, hard rollers, soft rollers, mats, glute bands, towels for the mass of physio beds and more. My immediate job was to unpack the playing kit and arrange it so the players were happy with the placement, we don't do numeric. We do keepers near door, then defenders, not putting the skipper in the corner, he has a dominant position in between all the squad. Then strikers, because, they like to think they are important!
    Then midfield and subs.
    Leaving room at the bottom of the cavernous dressing room for the staff to put the tactics board(s). The tactical coach has paper to put on other easels and of course the tape and blue tack, were not forgotten!
    Once I'm happy with my dressing room and every needed bit of kit, is positioned to particular personal players needs, of course the keepers and strikers being unusually superstitious, have all kinds of different warming up kit and undergarments.
    You do unfortunately have to get to know your players!
    The next item is to prepare and have the equipment needed for the dugout and warm up, ball's, bibs, cones, blood kits, doctors bags, subs kits, raincoats, and of course defibrillator, crutches, neck restraints, an ice box, ice bags, and lots of ice! Water, supplements, gels. And more! Including walkie talkies, so the staff can be contacted immediately.
    This done, we do the usual tour of the inner sanctum of the playing area and take the usual photos.
    This is the part I don't like much, everything is ready, the lull before the storm, the anxiety and nervousness abound, we are ready, the time slows agonisingly!
    All of a sudden, the players coach has arrived and I'm out to meet it as things need carrying into the dressing room and if not needed, into the van. I return to the dressing room and if everything is okay, I get the staff tea or coffee and I get myself a well earned rest, and if I'm not disturbed, it means, my part of the preceding part of the match is done.
    I sit at the back of the coaches side room, and relax watch the television.
    The warm up. The goalkeepers emerge an hour before kick off, the coach and three keepers go through their warm up, already the end were our supporters are, are getting vocal and expectant.
    I watch from the dugout.
    The rest of the squad appears, they do the drills, I join them on the pitch, with a slight smile on my face, I'm there to look after the equipment especially the balls. My job is to gather the bibs and cones after the warm up, collect the balls and get back into the dressing room, sometimes I'm the only person on that near goal to our supporters and I always try and see my family, relatives and friends, mostly I don't pick them out.
    The gaffer is going through the final reminders of what is expected of the first eleven and who they are marking at set pieces, tactics adjusted to the opposition line up. Everyone in the changing room is up on their feet, wishing best wishes, hugs, encouraging, grim determination on the faces.
    I wait at the door to the tunnel, as I'm aware of movement outside, the linesman, oops, sorry, my age showing, are about to bang on the door to get the players in the tunnel, to check for jewellery, studs, correct under garments. The knock is sounded, I open the door slightly ajar, we have to be walking out as a team led out by the gaffer, the skipper and of course there is one who has to be last out, the opposition is coming out, we open the door and everyone lines up in the tunnel awaiting the referee to start the precession out.
    I duck back in and do a quick bit of tidying up intentionally missing the national anthem and the couple of minutes before kick off.
    I get settled in the dugout just in the nick of time for the match to begin.
    I look at the subs making sure they have the bibs on and water is available.
    The whistle blows and we are down to ten men within a minute!
    (Oh s!!!!!) It was a red but in the circumstances, a yellow could have been given!
    The lad is distraught and its my job to see to him, so I follow down the tunnel and offer any assistance he needs, I take time to see he is as okay as can be, he tells me to go and watch the game, I leave only to be told by the guard on the dressing room door, that the player can watch from above tunnel, I turn and get the message to him as he showers, I return to the dugout just in time to see a goal.
    Yeah! We scored! Wow!
    The first half continues and going into injury time after already making two subs because of tactics, we get another injury, and a third sub is readied. I have to make sure they wear the right bibs and water them, the injured player has an Achilles tendon injury, he is taken straight to the dressing room. I go with him, we have already played more than the fourth officials board said, in total an extra five minutes were played on top of the six minutes on the board. They scored from the last kick of the half.
    The dressing room is deflated, there is much anger at the officials, there is a momentary lapse in behaviour by some of our staff and theirs, resulting in two coaches spending the rest of the game in the stands, I have to get the coach an unused radio, I'm asked to talk to the officials instead of the gaffer, to get the message to calm everyone down. Get more water and gels. We have iced tea towels in soak to cool everyone because even though it is raining, told you I needed them raincoat and benchcoats, the gaffer wanted a drier jumper, because he didn't wear a coat despite the weather!
    The gaffer is brilliant in bringing the lads back down and extolling the great way we have performed so far, he says that, they have had one shot on target, we have done better, despite the man disadvantage, we are playing better footie and the need for the lads to do their jobs, they all know and trust each other to do that. We just need to keep our shape, deny them opportunities, and try our best to get another chance ourselves from either a break or a set piece. It was inspiring and much needed at that time!
    The bell goes for the second half and the lads troop out with a determination and a resolve to see this through.
    I do a bit more tidying up, then take my place in the dugout.
    The second half is not the best but in the circumstances, who could blame us, we thwarted everything the opposition could throw at us. And then with barely ten minutes to go, the whole superwhite army exploded as our striker headed the ball past their keeper into the corner of the net.
    My excitement nearly did some serious damage, my feet got caught in the seats, my back bounced off the seats.
    Against all odds, we were on track to win at the home of football and achieve promotion.
    Alas, it was still ten minutes plus injury time, the supporters who had not shut up since before the kick off, got louder and the noise was unbelievable. They were the extra piece of the jigsaw, the much needed kick the players needed to respond to. We got back into survival mode and resisted all attempts at breaching our defence.
    Those last fifteen minutes were agony, there was desperation, aggressive defending, every man did their utmost to keep that lead, they were brilliant, the supporters sang louder, the realisation of victory was just a whistle away. Then just as I had no more nails to bite, it went, and pandemonium broke out!
    The gaffer started running towards the supporters followed by all the subs, the coaching staff and even myself got caught up in the euphoria.
    The celebrations went on and on, the usual celebrations around Wembley playoffs and then the dressing room and champagne and beer flowed, (not me of course) lots of dancing and singing, more hugs, more high fives and then about an hour after the dancing and singing, I was left alone to sort out everything, I got my driver to help and we had to ensure every bit of kit and equipment got to the van and packed.
    We left about 7.30pm.
    We stopped at the first services on the motorway because we hadn't eaten since breakfast, I wasn't that hungry, honest, as usuaI drank tea and water all day, no food!
    A completely different experience than the year before, the drive there and back, the hotel, the breakfast, the company, the perfect way to finish the season. And of course the result!

    We are back, watch out you league clubs, we are better, stronger and will be more than a challenge on the day we encounter you! C'mon you superwhites!
  13. Merry Christmas and whilst I prosper with my own health, it is a pity that I have to witness the absolute absurdity of celebrating chrimbo with the rest of my lot.
    The better half, type two and back problems having too many treats.
    Her brother a confirmed alcoholic, with a pint glass in his hands and a reefer not too far away, another few months in the rehabilitation centre, but as the wife would say, it's Christmas!
    My son's and daughter drinking to access and eating too much, spending too much money and time on prezzies.
    Partying to all hours and being far too generous.
    The grandkids swamped with too many toys, too much tech and too much money, my fault for a change!
    Lots of love and good will all round!

    The father in law, (the coffin dodger!) He has already gone through a few bottles of wine as per usual, dressed in his Santa jumper. Toddling around with his walking stick, shopping for non essential items of food and we will definitely need that for Christmas day and still have the same stuff in the cupboards from last, two, three Christmases past! Bought Christmas pudding but no one likes it except for me and I can't!
    Everyone buys him spirits at this time despite knowing of his chronic alcoholism and he has gone through so much, that he has his Christmas and New year's holiday in hospital, he has not failed for the past four years because he keeps getting pneumonia! He never learns, he keeps going out in the wet and cold, to get his evening tipple!
    He's deaf as well, as he will completely ignore you if you are trying to talk sense. He shouts because he won't wear his hearing aid, he whistles when he speaks because his teeth (falsies) don't fit!
    His eating and every other habit is disgusting, designed to upset you. He won't throw food away, he stores food that is way out of date and one of us has to clean out the cupboards every now and again. He is disgusting!
    He is a very selfish person, which is synonymous with alcoholics.
    He would and should be amongst the rest of his age in our family but he won't go!
    He has been resuscitated many times, more lives than a cat, even though he has DNR on his medical notes and still they got him back!
    I sometimes wonder if he's still here just to irritate us!
    I wouldn't put it past him!

    Everything is nearly ready for the big day!
    I've got my roasted gammon for the evening, the turkey is awaiting the oven, all the vegetables are prepared. The tree is swamped ten feet tall with prezzies!
    The ambulance is booked and looking forward to a quieter Christmas than you would think! (No, it's not!)

    See you soon, if I survive it!

    Bah humbug!

    Merry Christmas everyone!
  14. I think that the biggest thing I've learned is to be always surprised at how a metabolic condition such as I have, will always find something different than everyone else has.
    The numbers of symptoms that are associated with RH and other hypoglycaemic conditions keep growing, no one is the same, no two are typical, only the symptoms are slightly different because of the other problems and conditions that accompany life.
    I think that the reason that I can draw experience and a baseline with my own individual health is because other than my pancreas going OTT when eating carbs is my health is excellent. So nothing else can mask or skew the diagnosis.
    I have normal blood glucose levels. My body likes being in normal blood glucose levels, it doesn't like anything else and it tells me in no uncertain terms that I have come out of ketosis. Even a small raise in levels, I get acute symptoms. My eyes start blurring, headache, sweaty, just don't feel good and of course the shakes!
    My organs are healthy even my pancreas, (except you know what!) No fatty liver, no kidney or liver function problems. My heart is good, my BP is perfect!
    The things I've learned because of the rarity of my condition, because I had to.
    I know how it works, I understand the science, I have read so many papers and reports, watched lots of stuff on medical networking sites, YouTube, and blog pages. This stuff is interesting!
    I am intrigued why and how, this condition is different but so similar to other metabolic conditions.
    I am curious as to how and why the food we eat can impact our health so much.
    I am obsessed to a point in how and why avoidance of certain foods can impact and improve your health so much because it works for me even if the man who literally saved my life, still tells me, I must have a few carbs a day! (I don't!) He has agreed on a ketogenic lifestyle has done wonders for me.
    I am actually an idiot learning nutrition through experience, my food diary goes back to 2009. My readings are now that I understand the science, totally logical and I still cannot believe the GPs that looked at my diary and didn't think or know that having episodes of Hypoglycaemia is T2, when not on meds or having normal glucose levels every morning is unusual! That having spikes in more than double figures is something that only happens when you start at a higher blood glucose level. Hypos after a bowl of porridge isn't atypical of T2!
    I am still learning to post comments making sure that it combines information with hoping that I'm not causing more problems that will help rather than come across like an advocate of being a low carb forum troll.
    There is so much to cover and convince that what is making them ill is normal foods, the staple diet of bread, milk, potatoes, rice and the like.
    Every meal that I have grown up is meat and two veg!
    Breaking bread is a norm, having milk with tea, breakfast and even bedtime drinks is dairy.
    But I'm intolerant to them.
    The eat well plate is designed to bring a healthy nutritious diet to you.
    Well, it didn't to me!
    It was like pouring petrol on a fire!
    My weight ballooned from fourteen stone to nearly eighteen stone in three years.
    And I was not eating a lot!
    My hypo hell!
    I call my diet, the idiot diet. It is simply, intermittent fasting, a small meal diet, eaten infrequently, when I went and not much, sprinkled with healthy food for me, designed by me, (and my glucometer) and how my food interacts with digestion, my gut brain trigger and most Importantly my health and how I feel.
    And I do feel great!

    That about sums it up!
    The thing is, I have come to realise that the battle against ignorance about how metabolic conditions should be treated as an individual personal balance of how food can make you ill. And neither my recommendation or someone else dietary advice will work for more than you. You are different, I'm different! I'm just a bit more weirder than you. Having a rare condition does make you sit up and notice the writing on the wall.
    Knowledge is the most powerful tool that you can use, in helping others.
    Knowledge and experience and recording everything that has happened to you will give you an account, to see how you have travelled down your personal journey, you must learn how to assimilate that information and use it in your daily life, your decision making and your life choices.

    I'm a reactionary, I now teach my healthcare practitioners and discuss my experiences with my endocrinologist, my family, my work colleagues (I bore them) and friends. But of course my experience has helped so many looking for a friend who has done this, who will give answers to why medical advice is not working, won the battle against ignorance, come through my own personal hell.
    And come out smiling!

    Without this forum, I would not have had that knowledge, that I use!

    Thank you, you special people you!

    A Reactionary.
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